The Matadors scored early on a header by Derek Hanks in the fifth minute, but had to settle for a 1-1 tie after the Cal Poly Mustangs scored in the 86th minute on Sept. 23 at the Sports Complex in San Luis Obispo.
In a rare occurence this season, Northridge scored the first goal of the game. The goal was off a set piece, according to head coach Terry Davila, and came after a throw-in by midfielder Fergie Agwu was headed to Hanks by defender Matt Tracy.
The goal was the first this season for Hanks and the assist was Tracy’s first for the season.
The Mustangs scored at 85:54 to tie the score at 1-1. Cal Poly forward Andrew Cruz scored the goal and was assisted by midfielder Jose Garcia. The goal followed a save by goalkeeper Kevin Guppy on a shot by midfielder Jesse Alvarez. According to Davila, Guppy’s punt was short and the loose ball deflected off a player, giving Cruz an open shot from only about seven yards out.
“It was kind of unfortunate,” Davila said. “We turned the ball over very easily last night and we weren’t as sharp as we could be.” Giving credit to the Mustangs, Davila said, “They hustled their butts off and they made us make a lot of errors.”
The Mustangs played a very defensive game, using a 5-4-1 formation that proved effective, holding the Matadors to only eight shots in the game. Seven of CSUN’s shots were during regulation play, while the eighth shot was taken in the first period of overtime.
“We turned over a lot of balls in the midfield,” Davila said. “We weren’t really precise as far as our passing. It was an overall thing, it wasn’t just a forwards’ problem or a midfield problem, it was an overall thing.”
CSUN midfielder Devin Deldo had two shots in the game, while the team shot leader, Michael Clegg, was held to just one shot. Forward Adrian Lopez, defender Sean Franklin, and midfielders Fergie Agwu and Brian Siu all had one shot each. Forward Ryan Rossi, who leads the Matadors in goals, suffered a groin injury during the game and did not record any shots.
For the Mustangs’ offense, midfielder Julian Alvarez led the team with three shots. Forwards Andrew Cruz and Dominic Papa had two shots each in the game. Midfielders Brian Jones and Logan Nicks, forward Jeff Meyer, Jr., and defender Eric Ward each had one shot in the game.
The CSUN defense allowed only 11 shots during the game and goalkeeper Kevin Guppy had three saves. The Matadors also recorded one team save, their fourth in the last four games.
For the Mustangs, goalkeeper Eric Branagan-Franco had four saves.
The Matadors are now 2-3-3 overall and 0-0-2 in Big West conference play. The Mustangs are 2-4-3 overall and 0-1-1 in conference games.
“The Big West is wide open,” Davila said. “There’s no clear cut top team.”
Davila also said that he thought conference games will be close. “You don’t know who’s going to win. There’s going to be a lot of surprises, no one’s going to run away with the league.”
The Matadors return home to take on UC Santa Barbara at Matador Soccer Field on Sept. 27.